Auditions can be tough to come by. You want to do well to have a better chance at booking the job as well as leave a favorable impression so that you will get more auditions with the casting director. Unlike theatrical auditions where you know you will normally be reading a script with a reader or sometimes another actor, there are many types of commercial auditions: dialogue, one-liners, monologue copy, short scenes, longer scenes, two or more person scenes, improvisation, reactions, skills, questions, etc. etc. Some auditions require no preparation. But most require a little and some a lot.
Audition preparation differentiates the professionals from the amateurs. Here is what professionals do:
Get correct information: When you receive an audition call, text or e-mail, note ALL the data. You don’t want to prepare for the wrong role or go to the wrong address.
Confirm appointments: Call, text, e-mail or respond via the casting sites to whoever contacted you to confirm your audition. If you don’t confirm in a timely manner they will assume you are not going and will assign another actor the time that was delegated to you.
Obtain the commercial copy in advance: Before most dialogue commercial auditions, CDs post the copy on submission websites for the auditioning actors. Join these sites so you have access.
Prepare material: material when posted. Ask your representation if there is copy. If there is, arrange to get it. If it’s not up on one of the sites, ask your agent or manager if it can be e-mailed or faxed. If not, get to the audition early. When there is copy, the more time you have with it in a quiet environment, the better your preparation.
Investigate, motivate, find your connection and make choices. Prepare several interpretations. Professionals usually approach theatrical auditions working with a “who,” “what,” “where,” and “why.” Yet many don’t consider using these acting basics for commercials. If they work in every other medium, why would they not be of value for commercials? – especially now when the tone for most of them is underplayed, natural and realistic. Many actors feel that all they have to do is memorize the material to be prepared. Memorization can be helpful but finding your own connection to and interpretation of the role and material, I believe is much more valuable.
I strongly believe that if you prepare with these basic acting tools they will help you to do better auditions.
Select wardrobe: Wardrobe helps define the character for the actor and offers a visual image for “the powers that be.” On the casting breakdown, in the script, or from your representation, ascertain what kind of wardrobe you should wear.
Don’t be on time: – BE EARLY
When you are early you have options. If you arrive at the audition early and there a lots of actors waiting then go ahead, sign in and go prepare. If you get there early and there are just a few actors, look at your script or story board, prepare and relax yourself for a few minutes then sign in on time. You work too hard to get auditions, you never want to feel hassled so you can’t do your best work in the audition room.
I recommend that you leave plenty of time (when possible) to travel to your commercial auditions so that even with traffic, maybe getting lost and finding parking, you can be early.
Walk around while rehearsing at your audition: With dialogue, while you are preparing, walk someplace close by to rehearse in your full voice. When some actors sit and rehearse quietly, it is sometimes tricky to go on-camera and switch to their full voice. Some even speak in an “airy” voice which can be disempowering to their audition. Also, walking around and speaking in your full voice helps maintain a good energy. Be sure to keep an eye on how the session is running so that they don’t have to go looking for you.
Stay focused: While waiting in the lobby, prepare (or if you have already done so) then review your choices and put yourself in a relaxed, positive and confident state of mind. Focusing yourself this way, I believe can really make a difference for most actors. If you see friends at the audition, feel free (if there is time) socialize for and few minutes then go back to relaxing and focusing your energy.
There is a lot involved in learning to do your best at commercial auditions. For additional insights and tips, check out my book Hit The Ground Running @ www.hitthegroundrunningbook.com and for more information on Commercial Acting Classes: http://carolynebarry.com/workshops/commercial/